As a recent participant in the LEE Public Leaders Fellowship, Doug had the opportunity to reflect on his values and how they fit into his professional trajectory.
The experience proved transformative for him.
During the fellowship, he was going through an important career transition and used his knowledge from LPLF to recalibrate his goals and vision going forward.
“My experience with LEE reconnected me to the roots of why I entered the education field in the first place. The work I did during LPLF inspired me to take a closer look at my leadership values, how others view me as a leader, and, finally, to take the time to develop a leadership plan with short- and long-term goals. These were things I needed to reflect on as I interviewed for the role of a lifetime!”
Through participation in LPLF, Doug decided to transform how he interrupts oppression on a daily basis.
“Oppression is happening everywhere around us and needs to be addressed. Actions need to reflect values and vice versa.”
He is now taking action in his own community through a monthly focus group to discuss how educational inequity manifests in his community. “I believe it is a dialogue long overdue and necessary in generating more awareness as well as a focus on the sinister systemic and subversive elements of racism and inequity that exist in our community. I hope to engage those directly impacted by inequity in conversations that require those in power to hear the voices of those who experience inequity in our community. I believe these voices play vital roles in developing solutions and improving outcomes for all students.”
As he reflects on educational inequity, and his purpose going forward, Doug will work to use education as a tool for liberation.
“I have seen the power of education utilized to subjugate generations of Alaska Native people and others, but I have also seen the power of education to liberate. Education's power to liberate grounds my vision for education, learning and teaching into the future.”
Douglas Cost (TFA Los Angeles '96) is an Assistant Professor of Secondary Instruction at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he earned his Ph.D. in Cross-Cultural Education and Futures Studies. He has lived in Fairbanks for the past ten years while earning a M.F.A. in Poetry and completing his Ph.D. Doug was a 2017 LEE Public Leaders Fellow.
If you are an experienced LEE member with a track record of impact and an interest in social justice looking to transition into a new or different role in policy, advocacy, organizing or elected leadership, check out the LEE Public Leaders Fellowship. Applications are currently being accepted.